We love to give our kids the best of toys. Battery operated bright, colorful buzzing toys. These toys may well have their place in developing a child. For example, give a car to a kid and he’ll spend hours moving it up and down in all places he thinks is a road for the car to travel on. But, what next? He’ll get bored of the same car everyday and soon you’ll find the shiny car you bought him last month is abandoned in the toy box.
You can’t really blame a toddler for this behavior. Even if I had only a few things to keep me occupied (say watching videos) I would get bored easily. What’s the solution then? Here’s a list of tried and tested methods to keep your toddler busy. Mind you, these don’t require batteries. They are inexpensive, easily available toys that don’t cost a bomb. But before we start, know that toys can’t take your place. You HAVE to sit and play with your child and there is no excuse for that. Your kid needs your time and no machine can replace that. Enough said, here goes my list!
Play doh or home made dough: You can buy readily available clay or quickly make some with flour, water, oil and some food coloring. You may also use liquid blue (used for whitening clothes, just a couple of drops is sufficient). Allow your kid to roll it, cut it, press shapes into it, punch it whatever. This activity will help your kid to improve his grip and also encourage creativity by making different articles of clay.
Read a book aloud: This one’s easy. Some kids don’t really like books. You can be animated while reading the books. Allow the child to turn the pages as you read. Again, don’t force the kid to sit and listen to you.
Bat and ball: The humble bat and ball will teach your kids to take turns while playing. Throw a ball and say out loud “hit” so a kid knows it’s his turn to hit the ball. It will take some time before he can hold and swing a bat by himself but once he does, it will be a delight. Who knows he might be the next cricketing superstar!
Clothesline Clips: These clips will help your kid to build better grip especially as a pre-writing skill. You can use a ring or a colorful vessel. Ask your kid to attach the clip on the ring or on the rim of the vessel. To make it interesting, tell him to group similar colors and clip them together.
Beans or buttons: You can use different types of colored beans or buttons for this activity. Mix them all up and ask your child to sort the beans. Ensure that your child is not too young or they may put it into their mouth.
Jumping: You can make jumping more fun with your kid by taping or placing colorful objects on the floor. For example, place a yellow toy on one tile, blue on another and so on. Now hold your kid’s hand and shout yellow. Both of you should jump on the tile where there’s yellow. Take turns to yell out the color or object names.
General tips while playing with kids
- Ensure that you speak loudly and clearly while playing.
- Don’t be too stern.
- If things get too boring, sing a song in between play. As you play, you will discover your creativity emerge and you will be able to design your own games with your kid.
- If one activity is too tough for your kid, move on to another. There is no point in forcing a kid to play a game he does not like. You can come back to the activity after a few days.
There will be noise but it will be fun. After all you are not playing chess with an adult, are you? You will be able to understand your child better and he will interact with you more meaningfully. So, let go and let your creativity grow. What games do you play with your kid? Share in the comments.